Should priests retain the right to Confidentiality ?


“PREMIER Ted Baillieu has backed the right of priests to keep private what is said in the confessional”

 

Robbo says Sacrosanct confessions need to be abolished

I wonder if he would still say that if a man confessed to killing one of his family members and the case was unsolved?

They keep enough secrets among themselves already with child sex abuse and so on. As a survivor of abuse in the catholic church myself, they should not have these special conditions for others, or themselves For example they should tell authorities when they become aware of sexual abuse among their own men in cloth

WE get enough covered up at it is. It should be impeding an investigation or something, it is akin to aiding an abetting a criminal,but that is my opinion, what is yours folks?

It has been revealed that a parliamentary committee would consider forcing priests to reveal reports of abuse heard during confession.

Mr Baillieu pointed to an earlier inquiry, headed by Justice Philip Cummins, that came out against the requirement.

He said members of that inquiry “all concluded that the sanctity of the confessional should remain”.

“I think that’s a powerful argument,” Mr Baillieu said.

Labor MP Frank McGuire, the deputy chair of the parliamentary committee, yesterday said the inquiry should be conducted by a retired judge or eminent senior counsel.

“This is an inquiry into whether heinous crimes against children have been covered up, and what laws, policies and procedures need to be changed,” Mr McGuire said.

“The inquiry is too important for politics.”

Australian Catholic University law professor Fr Frank Brennan said the move would be a restriction on religious freedom.

“I am one of the priests who, if such a law were enacted, would disobey it and, if need be, I would go to jail,” Fr Brennan said.

Melbourne Victims’ Collective co-ordinator Helen Last welcomed the proposal.

“Priests need to be mandated to report from within the confessional and without the confessional, and they urgently need to be trained about appropriately referring victims,” Ms Last said.

The Cummins Report called for a new law for mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in religious organisations.

“An exemption for information received during the rite of confession should be made,” the report said.

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Peter Finn, aka the Fat Aussie “Barstard” you are the thief!-Update must read


There comes a time when you have to stand up and have your say. This bloke is funny, he is popular on YouTube. I have been to his YouTube channel many a time and agreed with what he has had to say about certain issues. Often says what others wont.Makes lot of money with all those views probably

WELL IT IS ON THE OTHER FOOT NOW, WHAT A WEAK ACT F.A.B

Because he is also a thief. He stole money of good people. One couple ultimately in the end, who  won an auction of his tooth he said was to go Royal Children’s Hospital in Brissy. he spent it on himself, who cares on what.

Well he has been convicted and sentenced to 6 months jail suspended for 12 months.

I wrote on his YouTube channel, but I will NOT be surprised if it gets deleted. because he often says ask me anything. So I did, Why did you keep the tooth money?

Peter Finn, aka The Fat Aussie Barstard, has been sentenced to 200 hours community service for conducting an unlawful appeal for support and converting the money for his own use

UPDATE 20/07/12

Just when you think this could not get worse, this bloke has the audacity to post a apology on youtube (where he makes heaps of money from videos) and asks folks to watch a video with ads, to help pay the money BACK. Can you believe it?

He is not sorry, not genuine, he has $$ on his mind, and wants to capitalise on it. Who knows how much he will make from the poor fools who click through…Sick and one of the lowest acts I have ever seen on the internet Peter Finn.

He says he deserves the flak, yet he must of spent the entire day deleting or blocking people like me who ask him genuine fair questions. he refuses to dig deeper that a crappy self serving apology…Thanks to screen caps here it is folks. But to see what’s been going on, at his site go to the bottom of this page…A fair dinkum wanker…

Makes a living bagging others, and now cannot handle the heat!

Just when you think this could not get worse, this bloke has the audacity to post a apology on youtube (where he makes heaps of money from videos) and asks folks to watch a video with ads, to help pay the money BACK. Can you believe it?

I have made this VIDEO so we dont need to go fill his dirty pockets by going to his channel and earn him one measly cent….I implore to to stay away from his site.

 

Peter Finn, aka the Fat Aussie “Barstard” spent Brisbane Royal Children’s Hospital charity funds

by: Robyn Ironside
From: The Courier-Mail
July 18, 2012

A MAN who extracted his own tooth and then auctioned it off online has been ordered to do 200 hours community service.

Peter Michael Finn, who uses the alias the ‘Fat Aussie Barstard’ (sic) claimed any money raised from the sale of his incisor would go to the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital.

He even appeared on national television to promote the stunt.

The winning bid on eBay was $6543.21 but the money was never donated to the hospital or any other charity.

He was charged with conducting an unlawful appeal and converting the money for his own use following an Office of Fair Trading investigation.

Appearing in Noosa Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Finn pleaded guilty to both offences.

The court was told he did not apply for a sanction from the Office of Fair Trading for his public appeal.

A conviction was recorded and he was also sentenced to six months jail, suspended for 12 months.

This afternoon most of Finn’s YouTube appearances were removed, with the exception of his presentation of the tooth to the winning bidder. 

More NEWS ON this LOSER

click on image for full size

The Official Office of Fair Trading Press release on this slime-ball Peter Finn (Fat Aussie Barstard) the thief

Lonely Hearts Beware – A must read – Romance Scam


I read the following article last night and was reminded once again just how conniving, scheming, ruthless and heartless these type of scammers have become. I have done other stories on scammers and frauds, and a lot of the time it involved an element of greed with all those get rich quick schemes.

PLEASE THINK ABOUT RELATIVES YOU HAVE THAT MIGHT BE VULNERABLE TO THIS TYPE OF THING BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE, BETTER TO UPSET A LOVED ONE SHORT TERM, THAN TO STAND BY AND SEE THEIR LIVE RUINED FOLKS

Now these pathetic scammers target lonely vulnerable single people looking for love, a lot of the time even just friendship will do. The lengths they go to are just eye popping.

I sincerely plea to all the single and lonely people out there to be so careful. These tricksters will spend weeks and months hooking you in. It might take longer, but stick to finding a partner within Australia, someone you can actually meet without spending all your savings. I feel awful for anyone who has been scammed this way, and can understand the potential embarrassment on being made to look foolish. You are victims, just like in any other crime

Anyone who has a story to tell and wishes to warn others, well I would be more than happy to make that happen with all confidential and identifying elements kept private.

Robbo

From Nigeria with love

July 18, 2012

 

We must be vigilant with our single lonely loved ones

Nigerian scammers are back with a vengeance, more sophisticated than before and using online dating and auction sites to rip off tens of millions of dollars a year from vulnerable Australians.

EVEN our computer recognises when something is too good to be true, so we don’t see them so much anymore – those emails offering untold wealth if we help a dignitary move a fortune from a hostile country, or notifying us of massive winnings in lotteries we don’t recall entering. And for the few that don’t go straight to junk mail we hit ”delete” without another thought.

Why, then, are tens of thousands of Australians still losing more than $55 million a year to mass-marketed advance fee fraud (scams tricking people into paying money upfront to secure a financial or emotional benefit at a later date), more commonly known as ”Nigerian” or ”419” scams?

Some may think it could never happen to us because we, and our computers, have become more sophisticated. But, then, so have the conmen.

Ken Gamble, of Internet Fraud Watchdog.

”Scammers are constantly evolving and finding new ways to trick victims into parting with their money,” says Ken Gamble, of Internet Fraud Watchdog.

The scammers who used to send us the emails are now finding their victims through legitimate dating and auction sites. In what have become known as romance scams, once the fraudsters hook their victim they use voice-changing devices to hide Nigerian accents or employ sophisticated software to make victims believe they are video chatting with attractive models.

Last year, consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received reports that put money lost to romance scams at more than $22 million, with an average loss of $21,000 per victim.

In romance scams, victims meet fraudsters through online dating sites and part with money to buy airfares, secure early discharge from the army or help a sick relative of a person the victim believes is in love with them.

The $5000 that Meredith Hoarey lost was all the money she had. She believed the man she had met online was an American soldier based in Iraq. In telephone and internet conversations over nine months, ”Sgt Zachary Smertyn” convinced Hoarey, 46, of his intention to be discharged from the US Army so that he could come to Australia to marry her.

His alleged commander told her via webcam that Smertyn could not be discharged until certain expenses had been covered. He sent her a variety of official-looking documents to ”prove” his claims, as well as a ”Military Wife Registration Form”.

Believing it was the only way she could be with the man she had fallen in love with, Hoarey, who lives in NSW, sold her car to cover the expenses. Soon after, she received a bill for $3000 for a weapon allegedly lost by Smertyn, which she was told had to be repaid before he could be discharged.

”That’s when my whole world came crumbling down – I knew I’d been had,” she says. ”I felt like part of me had died. How could I be so dumb?”

Miriam Munro* knows this feeling only too well. She sent $60,000 to a man she believed to be an American businessman called ”Dayne”, whom she had met on a well-known internet dating site.

She had heard of Nigerian scams, but she had no reason to believe she was being subjected to one because Dayne told her he lived just an hour away from her home in Western Australia. He even gave her a local phone number to contact him on, but then said he couldn’t meet her because he was travelling on business. In reality, the ”local” number diverted to Nigeria.

In retrospect, he fell for Munro very quickly. ”They love bomb you. They send emails, they send love poems, they talk to you on Messenger, they ring you two or three times a day,” she says.

It is easy to dismiss victims of 419 scams as stupid or gullible, but Munro comes across as neither of these; she is in her 50s, is articulate and holds down a professional job. What she was, she readily admits, is ”lonely and vulnerable and going through some personal strife”.

Gone are the days of emails full of laughably broken English and absurd claims of outrageous rewards for very little effort on the part of the victim.

”I was totally convinced I was talking to an American girl and an American guy,” Munro says. Her conviction was not unreasonable, given she spoke to him on the phone and communicated with both him and his ”daughter” over a webcam. ”I would talk to them all the time.”

But the voices and webcam videos were fakes and it turned out all communication was coming from Nigeria, still a hub for online fraudsters. Increasingly sophisticated in the running of the scams, they work in shifts and use voice changers to give themselves an American accent.

Sophisticated programs, such as that offered by CamDecoy, provide videos of models that can be manipulated by the scammers to appear as though they are interacting with the victim on a webcam. Even more sinisterly, fraudsters use footage of unsuspecting members of webcam chat rooms that has been recorded surreptitiously over several weeks.

In both cases, the scammers claim there is a problem with sound but have full control over the footage. They can pause it, type when the person on screen is typing, or jump to a clip of the model waving, laughing or otherwise reacting as the victim would expect them to.

For example, Dayne bombarded Munro with flowers, cards, telephone calls and webcam chats. ”He said everything I wanted to hear, I needed to hear,” she says.

After a few months, the requests for money began. First he needed a loan when he became stranded in Ireland. Then he offered to invest some of Munro’s funds into his successful business. Believing his professions of love and that he yearned to hurry back to Australia to be with her, she handed over $60,000.

Finally, unwilling to wait any longer, Munro decided to go to Dubai to meet him. The night before she was due to leave, he phoned her. ”He said his daughter had been in an accident and he couldn’t meet me at Dubai airport. And then, I just knew.”

She was devastated. Not only had she lost money, she had also lost what she thought was the love of her life – and her ability to trust people.

Donald Thomson, a forensic psychologist at Deakin University, says the impact on the interpersonal relationships of victims who commit themselves emotionally as well as financially is greater than those who are victims of a purely financial scam. ”They can separate themselves from it, but the person who has been a victim of a romantic scam has given all of themselves.”

Meanwhile, ”The Psychology of Scams”, a study commissioned by the UK Office of Fair Trading, shows people who have already been a victim of a scam are consistently more likely to show renewed interest in contact from fraudsters. One trick of conmen is the ”secondary scam” in which they contact a victim some time after they realise they have been scammed and pretend to be lawyers, government officials or police from the scammer’s country.

This happened to Munro. ”Sean King”, whom she chatted with on another site, told her he had also been the victim of a scammer. He said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates 419 scams, had helped him and a friend to recover their money. Her local police had already suggested she get in touch with the EFCC, but ”I emailed them and never got a reply,” she says. Sean told her he would get the employee who had helped him to contact her. ”So he [the EFCC employee] emailed me and then it was all on again,” Munro says.

The emails had the same EFCC logo as she had seen on the site to which the Australian police had directed her. ”They said because such a large amount of money was due to me, I had to get anti-money-laundering and insurance certificates from the bank. All the documents that came to me looked totally believable,” she says. ”They named the guy who scammed me and said they had his IP address. It was very clever. I was sucked in.”

Thousands of dollars later for a variety of ”fees” and ”certificates”, Munro realised she was being scammed again.

While romance scams target the lonely and vulnerable, usually people over 50, another type of scam targets the young and naive. The ACCC research showed an increase in ”high volume scams” that catch more victims, but for smaller amounts of money.

Brittany Smith, who lives in Melbourne, was just 17 years old when she lost her life’s savings trying to buy a car from a well-known Australian car sales website. When she found one she liked, the seller told her that the site would hold payment in escrow until she confirmed she was happy with the car. Smith soon received an email on the site’s letterhead.

”It looked legitimate,” she says of the email, which contained both hers and the seller’s information. ”It had contact details for a site representative and said I had to give it $7000, which they would hold on to until the car was delivered and I told them to release it.”

Four days later, she still hadn’t heard from the seller and was unable to contact the ”representative”. So Smith called the website to get her money back and that’s when she learnt she had been scammed. ”They told me they have no communication whatever with buyers or owners; all they do is run the site.”

Like most scams, payment was made through Western Union. Smith knows now that Western Union should never be used to transfer money to people unknown. ”In hindsight, when you look at it, you think, yeah, there were some alarm bells but at the time it seemed so legitimate.”

She contacted the Australian Federal Police but was told there was little it could do. The ability of scammers to operate in a variety of countries means that few offenders are arrested and prosecuted.

A representative of NSW Police who is responsible for Meredith Hoarey’s case says on a cost/benefit analysis it was not worthwhile tracking the culprit to Nigeria and there was no ”reasonable prospect of conviction”, which is necessary for a prosecution to proceed.

An AFP spokesperson says it has no legal right to make inquiries or conduct an investigation in a foreign country. ”However, the AFP works closely with international law enforcement, including Nigerian authorities, Australian law enforcement and industry to combat online crime of this nature in a holistic fashion.”

The consensus among these agencies and others is that a victim of an online scam is unlikely to recover any of their money.

The Australian Institute of Criminology says ”the best approach lies with prevention, in raising awareness and in encouraging potential victims not to respond to invitations in the first place”. A spokesperson says: ”Our role is education and awareness, but we do work with a number of agencies, both Australian and overseas, to try and disrupt scammers.”

On Valentine’s Day this year, the ACCC released voluntary ”Best Practice Guidelines for Dating Websites”, which most major dating sites claim to abide by. Some sites will not allow registrations from outside Australia, but Peter Brittain of Slinky.com.au says scammers work with Australian associates. Indeed, scammers use agents in Australia partly to stop alarm bells going off when victims are told to send money to Nigeria. Hoarey, for example, transferred money through Western Union to recipients in Queensland.

Earlier this year, Brisbane woman Sarah Jane Cochrane-Ramsey, 23, was convicted of fraud after being employed by Nigerian scammers to provide an Australian bank account through which they could funnel payments they received through a popular car sales website. Her payment was to be 8 per cent of all money received, but instead she kept the $33,000 she received, fleecing both victims and scammers.

Ken Gamble’s company, Internet Fraud Watchdog, tracks IPs of fraudsters for those who can afford his services. He warns of an increase in investment scams, such as boiler-room fraud (cold calls offering investors worthless, overpriced or non-existent shares) and online sports betting fraud, backed by slick websites, glossy literature and fast-talking salesmen.

The Office of Fair Trading study shows that, surprisingly, it is people who are educated in the stock market and gambling who are most likely to fall for these scams and fraudsters, particularly retirees looking for better returns on their superannuation.

For Brittany Smith, being scammed was a wake-up call. ”Being 17 years old and losing every cent I’d worked for was horrible. I was just shocked that people even did that. It was a bit of a reality check. I’m in the real world now and people do this kind of stuff.”

* Miriam Munro is not her real name. It has been changed to protect her identity.

MORE INFO ON THESE SCAMS

Romance scam

A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victims’ money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, and/or national identification numbers or by getting the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.

Stolen Images

Scammers post profiles, using stolen photographs of attractive women (or men), asking for men (or women) to contact them. Letters are exchanged between the scammer and victim until the scammer feels they have groomed the victim enough to ask for money. This might be for requests for airplane tickets, medical expenses, education expenses etc. There is usually the promise that the fictitious character will one day join the victim in the victim’s country. The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed and/or stops sending money. Victims can be highly traumatized by this and are often very embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of a scam and that the romance is a farce.

The Internet

Scammers post profiles on dating websites to fish for victims. Upon finding victims, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, (such as providing an e-mail address) to allow for fraud to occur.

Researchers have found that victims feel that there is an equal balance of self-disclosures (Whitty & Buchanan, in press).http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/media/research/research-groups/digital-identities-research-group/online-dating-romance-scam-project

In 2011, Sarah Lacy managed to update the story from Nigeria, where many earlier 419 scams had evolved into online-dating scams. The scammer was “more a long-distance emotional prostitute, providing a service men appear to be happy to pay for,” on the one hand, but on the other was also often a brilliant entrepreneur who made the business reporter in Lacy feel a “broad smile [spread] across my face as we spoke, even [making me break] out in laughter once or twice.”

Common variations

  • Narratives used to extract money from the victims of romantic scams include the following:
  • The scammer says their boss paid them in postal money orders. The scammer wants the mark to cash the money orders, and then wire money to the scammer. The forged money orders leave the banks to incur debts against the victims.
  • The scammer says they need the mark to send money to pay for a passport.
  • The scammer says they require money for flights to the victim’s country because of being left there by a step-parent, or husband/wife, or because they are just tired of living in their country and somehow never comes, or says that they are being held against their will by immigration authorities, who demand bribes.
  • The scammer says they are being held against their will for failure to pay a bill or requires money for hospital bills.
  • The scammer says they need the money to pay for the phone bills in order to continue communicating with the victim.
  • The scammer says they need the money for their or their parents’ urgent medical treatment.
  • The scammer says they need the money to successfully graduate before they can visit the victim.
  • The scammer offers a job, often to people in a poor country, on payment of a registration fee. These are particularly common at African dating sites.

 

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High-profile sex offender Dennis Ferguson spotted selling RSPCA biscuits in Sydney CBD


This creepy dirty sleazy slime ball has been caught out yet again. Shifty, sneaking and very very cunning.

He was NOT Fund Raising. He was FUN RAISING for himself. Sitting there checking out all the kids going by who get up close and personal when their unsuspecting parents come forward to support a well respected charity, the RSPCA.

Where are the checks on the snake belly’s we call paedophiles?  He uses his middle name instead of his first and he slips through the cracks???

I was flabbergasted to read this in the paper. let me assure you, they are out there doing this, he got busted by journo’s recognising his well known disgusting face. Imagine all the other slime-balls out there creeping and slithering around our community FUN RAISING for themselves!

Also, on a side note, check out his digs, not a bad apartment building for a career pervert who does not work. Guess who would be paying for his bachelor pad folks?

A timely reminder of my other site here http://aussiepaedophiles.wordpress.com/

THE grey-haired man named Ray held up a tin of kangaroo-shaped biscuits, trying to raise cash for the RSPCA.

Paedophile Dennis Ferguson was spotted selling biscuits and other items fund-raising for the RSPCA in Sydney

But this was no ordinary charity seller. It was Australia‘s high-profile sex offender Dennis Ferguson.

The Daily Telegraph yesterday spotted the 64-year-old convicted paedophile selling merchandise to the public at Circular Quay under the name Ray Ferguson.

His stall offered various animal-shaped shortbread biscuits, pens, stickers and badges for the RSPCA.

Passers-by would not have suspected anything untoward about the older man trying to make a dollar for charity.

But when approached yesterday, he confirmed he was Dennis Ferguson, using his middle name for charity work.

Ferguson was jailed for 14 years for sexually assaulting three children aged six, seven and eight in a Brisbane motel in the late 1980s.

Soon after release, he was caught wandering through a primary school in Parramatta – against his parole conditions – and sent back to jail.

“What’s the big deal? So I made a boo boo in the past, that’s over,” Ferguson said yesterday.

The RSPCA last night said it had no idea the man named Ray who signed up as a fundraiser for the “family-focused brand” was a child sex offender, and it would seek to revoke his volunteer permit.

“The RSPCA is associated with puppies and kittens which appeal to children, and our brand is family-focused,” a spokeswoman said.

“We would not want people thinking they can’t trust our volunteers.”

It is not the first time Ferguson has signed up for charity work under an alias since his release.

In 2010, he was found selling children’s toys in Kings Cross on behalf of Diabetes Australia, without proper authority.

As a result, police obtained an order requiring Ferguson to notify the Child Protection Authority before engaging in charity work that would put him in contact with children.

Ferguson refused to say yesterday whether he had notified police about his charity work. “They know about me, that’s all I will say,” he said.

Police said details of people on the Child Protection Register could not be made public.

Dennis Ferguson

Dennis Ferguson

Born Dennis Raymond Ferguson
5 February 1948 (age 64)
Charge(s) Kidnapping, sodomy, gross indecency, indecent dealing and carnal knowledge
Conviction(s) Child sexual abuse
Penalty 14 years (1989–2003)
15 months (2003–2004)
Status Released

Dennis Raymond Ferguson (born 5 February 1948) is an Australian man convicted of child sexual abuse. In 1988, he kidnapped and sexually abused three children, and was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. Ferguson was forced on numerous occasions to relocate his residence from various locations around Australia, due to public hostility and news media attention

Criminal history

According to court records, Dennis Ferguson’s pre-1987 criminal history contains “many convictions for false pretences, various assaults on children and indecent assaults on females”, including five convictions for child molestation.In 1987 Ferguson was imprisoned in Long Bay Jail after being convicted on multiple fraud charges.

After being released from Long Bay Jail in July 1987, Ferguson, then aged 40, and his 23-year-old male lover, Alexandria George Brookes, abducted three children, two boys and a girl, from Sydney. Ferguson had previously got to know the children’s father, who was a fellow inmate in Long Bay Jail, and Ferguson was told that the children had previously been sexually abused. Ferguson and Brookes flew the children to Brisbane, and sexually assaulted them in a house in the Brisbane suburb of Kedron. The following night, Ferguson and Brookes moved the three children to a motel in the suburb of Ascot, where they again abused the children. Police arrested Ferguson and Brookes at the motel, where they found Ferguson naked with the children. Ferguson told police, “I can help you. Pornography. Kiddy porn, I can get you kiddy porn.”Ferguson claimed he was innocent, accusing one of the boys he molested of committing the crimes, but a jury found him guilty of all counts of abduction and assault of the three children. He was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, by a judge who noted there was no chance he would be rehabilitated

While in jail he refused to take part in rehabilitation programs, and attempted to obtain police photographs of his victims under the Freedom of Information Act. An order was obtained requiring Ferguson to report his whereabouts to police after fellow inmates reported plans by him to molest the eight-year old daughter of the family with whom he would reside after being released

In 2003, New South Wales Police surveillance located Ferguson in Parramatta Public School. Ferguson was forbidden from entering schools, and claimed he was distributing cleaning products for groups needing to raise funds. A court convicted him under the NSW Child Protection Offenders Registration Act, and he was sentenced to a further 15 months’ prison in the John Morony Correctional Centre. He was released in December 2004.

The following year, in November 2005, Ferguson was charged with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl at her home in the Queensland town of Dalby. In a rare legal move, the judge granted Ferguson a bench trial (without a jury), as he considered Ferguson would not receive a fair trial by jury, due to the enormous amount of media coverage. The judge found that while the girl had been molested while Ferguson and fellow convicted child sexual abuser Allan Guy had been at her house, it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ferguson had been responsible, rather than Guyand that he should be released. The girl had clearly identified ‘Dennis’ as the perpetrator of her abuse.

Relocation

After being released from jail in 2004, Ferguson was forced to move from numerous locations in Queensland, due to public pressure and media attentionAngry residents forced him to flee the towns of Bundaberg, Toowoomba and Murgon. In February 2005, he settled in Ipswich with another pedophile, but was again found by neighbours and the media. There were reports of rocks being thrown at his house. A judge awarded Ferguson $2,250 in compensation from an invalid Ipswich pensioner who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill himOther protests have been more peaceable.

In July 2008, he moved to a rural property near Miles, Queensland, but after word of his location spread, cars began to arrive at the property, and the police were called after 60 people began chanting anti-Ferguson slogans.

In 2009, he moved into a public housing apartment in the Sydney suburb of Ryde where he was given a five-year lease. Some residents of the area were outraged at Ferguson’s presence, after news organisations revealed where he was living- near a primary school and playgrounds.Angry males shouted on the street, and police found a Molotov cocktail near Ferguson’s apartment building; Ferguson claims that one man broke into his house and assaulted him ]By 2010, neighbours had forced him to leave Ryde

New South Wales Police attempted to obtain a court order banning Ferguson from public pools and parks,after he began frequenting a pool during primary school children’s swimming lessons.While the safety order was denied by a judge, they did succeed in obtaining an order requiring him to notify the child protection authority before engaging in charity activities that would put him in contact with children, a precaution that was prompted after he was spotted selling children’s toys for a charity for which he had registered using his middle name, Ray.[19][21] Ferguson had been selling them without a legally mandated permit and police approval.

A program set up by the government agency Centrelink to reunite missing persons was suspended indefinitely in September 2009, after it was discovered that Ferguson had accessed the service to reunite with his 1987 criminal accomplice, Alexandria George Brookes.

Legislative changes

In September 2009, in response to public anger at Ferguson living in the Ryde area, the Government of New South Wales under Premier Nathan Rees moved to introduce legislation to allow the government to evict child sex offenders from public housing. Critics dubbed the legislation the Dennis Ferguson Act, and said it was created as a result of the state government caving in to vigilantism.

Time to ‘let Ferguson live in peace’

Posted Sat Mar 7, 2009 1:32pm AEDT

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson says convicted paedophile Dennis Ferguson will be monitored daily after he was acquitted of a child-sex charge in Brisbane yesterday.

In a judge-only trial, the 61-year-old was found not guilty of molesting a five-year-old girl in her western Darling Downs home in 2005.

Commissioner Atkinson says it is time to let Mr Ferguson live in peace.

“He has to live somewhere that people would trust us to monitor him to keep a close watching brief on him,” he said.

“We will do that on a daily basis … hopefully people will just allow things to move forward now and not be concerned.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509851.htm

Ferguson acquittal sparks calls for paedophile separation

Posted Fri Mar 6, 2009 7:38pm AEDT
Updated Fri Mar 6, 2009 8:04pm AEDT

A child safety group wants the Queensland Government to keep known paedophiles away from each other, after today’s acquittal of Dennis Ferguson on a child sex charge.

The 61-year-old convicted paedophile had been accused of molesting a five-year-old girl in her Dalby home in 2005.

Mr Ferguson had gone to the property with fellow convicted paedophile Allan Guy.

He faced a judge-only trial in Brisbane after a court ruled it would be difficult to find an impartial jury.

In handing down her verdict, chief judge Patsy Wolfe said while the Crown had failed to prove Mr Ferguson was the perpetrator, the evidence suggested the girl was molested and Guy was responsible.

Mr Ferguson broke down in the dock and buried his head in his arms.

Outside the court, Carol Ronken from the child safety group Bravehearts said known paedophiles like Mr Ferguson and Guy should be stopped from banding together.

“We’re really concerned that he’s been able to liaise and hang around other sex offenders,” she said.

She also called on police to pursue Mr Guy.

Meanwhile, Queensland police have warned people not to harass Mr Ferguson, who has been run out of three Queensland communities in the past.

Deputy police commissioner Kathy Rynders says officers will monitor Mr Ferguson daily but it is unclear how long the surveillance will last.

She says Mr Ferguson will have to tell police his address.

His lawyer, Terry Fisher, says Mr Ferguson now wants to be left alone.

“It is my client’s hope that the conclusion of this trial will afford him the opportunity to live without constant media harassment and public intrusion,” he said.

‘Children need protection’

Police officer Heather Steinberg, who is running as an independent candidate in the Brisbane seat of Redlands, says the public should be concerned about today’s acquittal.

She says the Police Minister must ensure the community is safe.

“The children out there need to be protected,” she said.

“[Police Minister] Judy Spence said to us as a community we need to teach our children how to protect themselves from this type of situation.

“What’s the Government done about it? Absolutely nothing.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509206.htm

Ferguson not guilty on child abuse charge

By Jason Rawlins

Posted Fri Mar 6, 2009 11:14am AEDT
Updated Fri Mar 6, 2009 1:39pm AEDT

Notorious Queensland paedophile Dennis Ferguson broke down in the dock after being found not guilty of molesting a child.

At a judge-only trial, Mr Ferguson was accused of going to a five-year-old girl’s home on the western Darling Downs in south-east Queensland in 2005 and molesting her.

He had been at the Dalby home to talk to the girl’s mother about a sales business and was with another convicted paedophile Allan Guy and his wife.

Brisbane’s District Court Chief Judge Patsy Wolfe handed down her verdict at around 10am AEST.

Judge Wolfe said the evidence pointed to the girl having been molested but she said the Crown had failed to prove the identity of the person responsible.

She also said the girl’s description of where the offence took place and who was involved pointed to Guy being the perpetrator.

Mr Ferguson broke down in the dock and buried his head in his arms.

His lawyer Terry Fisher says Mr Ferguson now wants to be left alone.

“It is my client’s hope that the conclusion of this trial will afford him the opportunity to live without constant media harassment and public intrusion,” he said.

The verdict has prompted calls for the real offender to be pursued.

Outside Brisbane’s District Court, child advocacy group Bravehearts spokeswoman Carol Ronken called on police to pursue Guy.

“There should be an investigation into Allan Guy – whether or not he is a party to that,” she said.

Ms Ronken also wants the Queensland Government to prevent Mr Ferguson associating with other paedophiles.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says police will continue to monitor Ferguson but he will not be accommodated at taxpayers’ expense.

“As I understand the matter, now that he’s been found not guilty by the judge, Mr Ferguson is no longer in the custody of the state,” he said.

“I understand from police that they will be monitoring his movements and they’re able to provide further comment on that.

“I don’t propose to comment on the operational matters of police.”

http://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2009/QDC09-049.pdf

 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/qld/QDC/2008/224.html

Queensland District Court Decisions

Ferguson v. Watterson [2008] QDC 224 (19 September 2008)

Last Updated: 23 September 2008

DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

 

CITATION: Ferguson v Watterson [2008] QDC 224
PARTIES: DENNIS RAYMOND FERGUSON

(applicant)

v

NOEL BOYD WATTERSON

(respondent)

FILE NO/S: 40 of 2008
DIVISION: Civil
PROCEEDING: Application for criminal compensation
ORIGINATING COURT: District Court Ipswich
DELIVERED ON: 19 September 2008
DELIVERED AT: Ipswich
HEARING DATE: 2 September 2008
JUDGE: Richards DCJ
ORDER: The respondent is ordered to pay the applicant the sum of $2,250 by way of compensation
CATCHWORDS: Criminal compensation – where other factors have contributed in a significant way to an injury
COUNSEL: Mr P E Smith for applicant

Mr P Boustead for Crown Law

No appearance for the respondent

SOLICITORS: Fisher Dore for the applicant

No appearance for the respondent

[1] The applicant is a sixty year old man who has previously been convicted of sexual offences against young children. He was released from prison in New South Wales on 15 December 2004 and returned to Queensland in December 2004 initially living in the Brisbane area with friends. From December 2004 to January 2005 he moved to Ipswich and was living with a friend in temporary accommodation.
[2] During the days leading up to this offence he and his friends had been subjected to an extreme amount of harassment from the media who had in turn engendered public support to hound the applicant out of town. On 1 February 2005 he was helping friends move to rental accommodation in Murgon. He was the subject of further abuse on that day in Murgon and was told by the police he would be safer if he left and he returned to Ipswich. When they arrived back at Ipswich there were members of the media and a crowd of people outside the premises waiting for them. The applicant could not see what was going on as he was under a blanket in the rear of the vehicle but he was told that Mr Watterson was in the crowd and that Watterson did not like him.
[3] Because of the hostility of the crowd outside the house they drove immediately to the Yamanto Police Station. When they arrived the media was there as well. His friends went into the police station while he stayed under the blanket in the car. They requested assistance from the police and then they went back to the Ipswich address driving around to the back of the premises. The media and the respondent were still there. The car was stopped and as he lay under the blanket he heard many people yelling things like, “Get out you filthy kid fucker”, “You’re dead”, “We don’t want you here.” He became scared that if he got out of the car people would hurt him. He heard the back door of the car being opened by the applicant and he heard the applicant and others yell at him, “Get out of here!”.
[4] Things quietened down a bit and he eventually left the car and entered the house. As he went to the house he heard more abuse and people yelling that he was dead and that they would get him. The respondent was one of those who yelled at him saying, “No sleep tonight Mr Ferguson, the black fellas in Murgon never got you but I will”. He was scared that people would break in and injure him and that the media were inciting the crowd.
[5] When the police arrived the yelling and the rock throwing stopped. He remained in the house all night and throughout the next day he was worried that Watterson would break in and injure him or burn the house down. He was especially concerned once he saw television footage of Watterson threatening him and trying to get him out of the car. He was taken away from the house the next day.
[6] On 19 October 2005 the respondent pleaded guilty to one charge of making threats, contrary to
s 359 of the Criminal Code.
[7] Mr Ferguson applies for compensation under the
Criminal Offence Victims Act 1995. The Act came into force in December 1995 and was established to provide compensation for an applicant’s injury consequent upon a personal offence committed against the applicant[1]. The scheme was introduced to ensure compensation for all victims of crime. It does not provide that compensation be awarded only to victims who are good citizens. The explanatory notes of the Act when introduced into parliament in Bill form provides insight into the purposes of the criminal compensation scheme:

 

“The principle reforms are:

(b) court applications will be dealt with informally;

(c) amounts will be assessed according to a “compensation table” with the objective of simplifying the process and reducing the inconsistencies in the awards made.

 

The system for compensation is intended to provide some measure of compensation in a summary way to the victim of a crime without the delay, cost and formality of a civil action for damages, for example, for assault or trespass.”

[8] It would be a very rare case that a victim of crime would be denied compensation altogether. In Hohn v King [2004] QCA 254 the court discussed this proposition at paragraph 100:

 

“The behaviour of the victim of the crime is relevant and is one of the matters to be taken into account. However, the legislation is not in terms limited to “good citizens who are the innocent victims of criminal behaviour”. Crime, its causes and incidents, is more complex than such an attitude would suggest. Demographically, the group responsible for the majority of assaults, young people, particularly young males aged 15 to 24, is the same group most likely to be victims of assault. As s 25(7) recognises, criminal offending does not only occur in a world neatly divided between the innocent and guilty, the good and the bad, but one which contains many shades of grey. Compensation awarded to victims of crime does not depend on a simplistic approach but takes into account all the relevant factors including any behaviour of the applicant which contributed, whether directly or indirectly, to the injury.”

 

[9] The first question in this case is whether the offence of making threats under the Criminal Code is a personal offence as defined in the Criminal Offence Victims Act[2] Compensation is only payable for offences committed against the person of someone. This phrase was considered in detail in RZ (by his litigation guardian) v PAE (2007) QCA 166 at paragraph 45:

 

“For an offence to be an “offence committed against a person of someone”, it is not necessary that there be actual contact with the body of the person. To return to an earlier example, the offence of robbery is frequently committed by pointing a weapon at victims and threatening them with violence in order to obtain property with no actual physical contact with the person or body of the victims. Such victims are commonly awarded compensation under the Act because the offence to which they were subjected is planning an indictable offence committed against the person of someone within s 21 of the Act. An attempted robbery involving threats alone is no less an indictable offence committed against the person of someone than a like offence involving some actual bodily contact.

 

Although the respondent’s offence against the appellant child did not involve physical contact with or a threat of physical contact with the child’s person or body, it was certainly not an offence against property. The respondent proposed that the child let the respondent “suck his dick”, an act which, had it been carried out, would unquestionably have involved the child’s person or body. It is not suggested (nor could it sensibly be) that, had the attempted offence actually been committed, it would not have been “an offence committed against the person” of the child. The respondent desisted before committing the principle offence and in committing the offence of attempted indecent treatment of a child did not make physical contact with the child but the thirteen year old heard the forty six year old respondent’s graphic proposal to procure the child to commit the indecent act permitting the respondent to suck the child’s penis; the child apprehended the proposal knowing something of the respondent’s criminal history for like offences and offences of serious violence; the child understandably became upset. In these circumstances the respondent’s attempt to unlawfully procure the applicant child to commit an indecent act was offence against the child’s personal body and “an offence committed against the person” of the appellant child under s 21 of the Act.”

[10] That interpretation of those words is consistent with the remedial nature of the Act:

 

“To provide compensation to injured victims of crime against the victim’s person.”

[11] Whilst taking into account the actual language of and the meaning open on the words of s 21, they should not be construed narrowly if that would prevent the discharge of the legislative purpose of the Act; Khoury v Government Insurance Officer (NSW) [1984] 165 CLR 622 at 638. The words of that section make it very clear that this offence is an offence against the person of someone and in fact Mr Boustead for the Crown has not challenged that interpretation of the Act. It is clear that the act of threatening to kill Mr Watterson was a threat to be taken seriously and one that would constitute an assault by threat.

[12] He is therefore entitled to compensation under the Act. It is clear from the facts of the matter that he did not contribute to the offence. He did not commit any act on that day to incite the crowd to violence or threats. He remained hidden from the sight of the crowd during the day and the only incitement to the crowd was the fact that he had previously committed offences and been released from custody at the completion of his term of imprisonment. At the time of the offence he was simply endeavouring to move into a house as an invited guest.
[13] The applicant in his affidavit says that he was especially scared of the respondent breaking in because he had seen him on the television and he thought he was the ring leader in all the threats and rock throwing in the house over the two day period that this harassment took place.
[14] The applicant was interviewed by Dr Michael Beech, a psychiatrist on 30 May 2008. Dr Beech has provided a report in relation to this application. Dr Beech notes that in January 2005 the applicant was the first person placed on the Child Protection Offender Register and from that stage he began to experience harassment from the media. He was unable to keep his appointments with Dr Rosevear, his psychiatrist, as the media would stake out the doctor’s room. He was also unable to associate with friends so his support network was curtailed. At that stage he had physical symptoms including feeling generally nervous, headaches, dizziness and palpitations. He would suffer blackouts and his memory would lapse. He had been to Murgon to help his friend move from Ipswich and while he was there a reporter and cameraman came to the house. He chased them away and then the reporter called the police. The police arrived as did neighbours who in effect forced the police into removing him and he was taken back to his Ipswich address where there were media and a crowd outside.
[15] Dr Beech refers to his symptoms as follows:

 

“His physical health remained compromised. He said that his sleep was disturbed by initial insomnia and was broken throughout the night. He had distressing dreams of being accosted and attacked in public. His eating was disturbed and his weight fluctuated. He became fearful of going out in public. He said he was very wary when out of the house. He would only travel to Brisbane during broad daylight for arranged visits. He would go directly to the visit and return straightaway to Miles. When he visited Brisbane, he would change the place where he was due to stay overnight on short notice to avoid detection. He would stay at places where he knew there was good security. This went on for sometime.”

 

[16] The history of Mr Ferguson’s harassment is complicated. On multiple occasions during previous incarcerations he has been attacked by prisoners. Some have been convicted of grievous bodily harm and there have seven incidents of serious assault. He has been knocked out and badly beaten during the attacks. He still has continuing intrusive memories of some of these attacks and they make him anxious. As a result in prison he is anxious and easily startled. He now fears that he will also be attacked in the community as well as in the prison.
[17] There are also events from his childhood which he would not discuss with Mr Beech but they are apparently unsettling memories. Dr Beech saw a report from Dr Rosevear which has not been put before this court but it indicated that he has counselled the applicant on many occasions.
[18] In 2003 a report indicated that he showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder consistent with the fact that he had been repeatedly bashed and attempts were made on his life in prison. There was also history of child abuse which had not been resolved. In a further report in 2005, Dr Rosevear stated he continued to see Mr Ferguson in relation to his stress. He had phoned him on many occasions because he could not attend due to fear of public harassment. He had considered suicide and he believed that Mr Ferguson displayed evidence of chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
[19] Dr Beech opines that his chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would likely have arisen from earlier events including prison assaults. He describes anxiety prior to the 2005 incident, avoidance and thoughts of persecution and in 2003 was noted to be nervous, hyper-vigilant and had difficulty concentrating. He said there is also a history of abuse noted by Dr Rosevear and intrusive memories that are highly suggestive of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that goes back to childhood. He had past episodes of depressed mood with features consistent with either a major depressive episode or an adjustment disorder. He says:

 

“In my opinion, the incident in 2005 is likely to have added to burden of morbidity that Mr Ferguson had already suffered up until that time. The incident was one of many traumatic and frightening events that had occurred in his life. It happened when he was already anxious about previous bashings and feared a conspiracy to harm and prevent his allegations of negligence proceeding. He already feared for his safety. It is likely I believe that his anxiety had been further aroused by the events in Sydney and heightened by the events in Murgon. He had by the time he arrived back in Ipswich become fearful of public harassment.

 

These pre-existing circumstances I believe made him vulnerable to further anxiety and distress when he was threatened in Ipswich. They were further aggravated by his poor eyesight, being covered by a blanket, being accosted by a crowd, and being trapped in a car. To this sense of helplessness was added his belief that the crowd was being incited and that there was no help at hand…

 

I believe however that it has added to his PTSD and exacerbated and expanded it. He described continuing anxiety and recollections of the event. It has now made him more anxious about being in the community generally, more so than before. Prior to his return to custody, his avoidance was increased. It is likely to worsen again if he is released into the community.”

[20] He was unable to quantify the damage done by the 2005 events. More particularly he is unable to quantify the damage done by Watterson.
[21] It is said that the events of 2005 led to the exacerbation of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, the harassment was occurring on an almost daily basis and not just at the Ipswich address. Even on the day in question the harassment was produced not only by this respondent but by others present including the media. The resultant mental and nervous shock cannot all be placed on the shoulders of this respondent.
[22] In Say & AZ; Ex parte AG 2006 QCA 462, Holmes JA discussed the difficulties in trying to apportion compensation where there was more than one cause. Her Honour stated there at paragraph 23:

 

“Where there is a single state of injury produced by a number of factors, some or all of which warranted a reduction in the award, the court must do its best to make allowance for their contribution although the evidence may not lend itself to any precision. Often a broad brush approach, or the kind adopted by Thomas JA in Sanderson v Kajewski will be necessary. The exercise may be one of discounting, or fixing another percentage on the compensation scale to allow for the role of other factors, rather than necessarily a strict process of apportionment. In that exercise, it is legitimate to consider the nature of the other contributing factors. Given that the Act scheme is to require an offender to compensation his or her victim, it would be reasonable to suppose that contributing causes entirely independent of the respondent will be given considerably more weight than those merely reflecting part of the continuing of offending. Whether there ought to be any discount to reflect the fact that other behaviour of the respondent has contributed to the applicant’s state of injury will depend on all the circumstances, which may include the nature of that behaviour, how closely stipulated it was to the relevant offences and the relationship of victim and offender in which it occurred. The basis on which any reduction or compensation is made must have of course been clearly identified”.

[23] Because an apportionment is impossible to do clearly in this case, a broad brush approach will have to be applied. Whilst one of a crowd, the respondent was at the forefront of the harassment, the one opening the car door and the one making death threats which were clearly audible to the applicant. Further he was later on television reinforcing the nature of those threats and his intention to carry out the threats if given a chance. He was, in effect, the public face of the harassment over the two day period and a person who lived in close proximity to the house in which Ferguson had sought refuge.
[24] Of course, there was also the stress occasioned by the harassment that occurred in Sydney and Murgon with which Mr Watterson was not at all tied.
[25] The applicant clearly suffers from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and would be entitled to an award of 30% of the scheme maximum if this were the only cause of his disorder. However, taking into account the fact that there were many other incidents of harassment and trauma caused to the applicant both before and since these events, that award would have to be discounted considerably.
[26] In my view, the award should be reduced to 3 % of the scheme maximum and I order that the respondent pay the applicant the sum of $2,250 by way of compensation.


[1] S19(1)(a)

[2] s21 of the Act


 

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let's talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let’s talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

Time for a REMINDER about behaviour on this site…


BEFORE YOU CONTINUE, I ASK YOU VISIT THIS POST (PRESS ANYWHERE HERE) AND READ IT, AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE DONE SO BY MAKING A COMMENT ON THAT POST

Hi folks, It has sadly come to my attention once again that the behavior of some people on this site have shown disregard for the guidelines I have tried to set, and or casually choose to ignore them, in particular, during my many absences of late, as I attended to my young baby son who has been in hospital after being born premature last month. he came home yesterday and we have been getting settled.

I have to say, I started this blog so I could highlight and discuss things that interested me, and of course others. It became successful as many many others popped in and shared the same ideas as I did.

Now having said that, I have to say, unfortunately I do not care whether you have been here for months and made 2 thousand comments, or one day and made 5. I will NOT tolerate the bad language, the bully tactics of some who like to dominate the discussion, and those who are quite  impolite in disagreeing with another contributors point of view.

How often have I politely said, it is how you say something that is important, not so much WHAT you have to say. As far as I am concerned it is not too much to ask on a community blog where we gather with common interests.

Because I want this to be read tonight, I am going to post it now, but shall be adding to it.

Those people I speak of in the above sentences, expect to hear from me over the next 24 hours, because you will find yourself banished from the place and I will block every comment you make to go directly to moderation, where it will sit, until I personally read it. Like a child would be treated who does not know how to behave.

I have put thousands and thousands of hours into this site over 2 years or so, and WILL NOT have anybody, no matter who they are, or what they have done here, to ruin it for everyone else, OR for the people who will come in the future.

This blog is not for “A self selected few” to take some sort of control over what can be discussed and which opinions are to reign supreme. You can always go start your own blogs…

To be frank I am quite upset at the moment because some who have been around for a while should know better. Forcing me to get rid of you is something I will SADLY do if I have to.

Finally, and most regrettably, I also have to add, just because someone has very kindly made a donation to my site, (for which I honestly am very grateful).

It does not give he or she any extra rights or privileges here. We are all equal and any assumed extra power or status or “Weight” on any opinion or topic would be incorrect and unfair  (for want of a better word, I’m not in a good head space ATM). I hope I have conveyed that clearly enough.

PS. I WILL SIT HERE ALL NIGHT IF I HAVE TO AND GO THROUGH ALL THE COMMENTS OF RECENT DAYS

You have all be warned

Sincerely

Owner and operator of Aussiecriminals

Robbo

 

Have criminals got it TOO good in jail?


Every now and then I get a news item or a report on the telly that really spikes my attention. Whenever a story about prisoners either whining about conditions (like a paying renter does to a landlord, who actually have legitimate complaints and pay for the right) or an expose’ on what they get and don’t get in jail comes up, I get really frustrated. 

A  list was revealed from the ACACIA UNIT at Barwon prison, a haunt for the major crims in Victoria down the road from me. The other day we had a story about Fat Tony Mokbel, cooking his own food, as he did not LIKE the prison food…I could swear my head off, but I ask others not to so I wont….grrrrr

What happened to porridge for breakfast, some sandwiches for lunch and some meat and 3 veg for dinner. Dessert a few times a week?

I will tell you why, because surely it cannot just be me who thinks “No wonder they go back for more”. For starters, yes it is a sentence and their freedom is taken away, but bloody hell, not much else is. Just consider the savings on rent, electricity, food, clothes, dental, medical, entertainment, EDUCATION and all the books, materials and computers and stuff. Sports, recreation, pool tables, gym (think of the savings on gym membership!) all the legal aid they need. Transport…I could go on.

If one were unfortunate enough to be on the streets, but NOT commit crimes, maybe they should reconsider their career. I am not joking, think about all the benefits versus the negatives. What are they, let me think, ok you are behind 4 walls, and get locked in your room at night. The cost to the taxpayer is massive, and the jail population is growing. I bet my last dollar they grow by returning crooks who just throw the towel in and say it is too tough on the outside I am going back in…I’m better off inside…Some with money, may even think…Gee maybe even rent out my place for 400 a week while im here…leave jail and not pay back one bloody cent, have a nice kitty when I get out. pay the victim nothing either…I’m a mere poor prisoner…

Driven to court and back, unlimited free calls and correspondence to lawyers etc It makes my blood boil actually. I want the view of all you guys, I’m sure (well I hope) we also get the view from the other side, those who have been in, or have partners on the inside.

I will tell you know, it will take a lot of convincing to tell me that beyond all of the above, these poor people are suffering the lack of freedom etc. Well that IS the point of it all, the committed crimes, and suffer the consequences, my point is most Aussies would have no ides how generous these consequences are! Cheers Robbo

Barwon Prison in Victoria, which contains Victoria’s worst criminals

THE state’s most dangerous criminals are enjoying cut-price junk food and luxury items in our most secure prison.

While working families are struggling to meet grocery bills, our most heinous inmates jailed at Barwon Prison, including serial killers Peter Dupas and Paul Denyer, are living on discount smoked oysters, ice cream, popcorn and cheese.

The Herald Sun has matched prices at an inner-city supermarket chain with the Barwon Prison canteen, finding prisoners are saving up to 22 per cent compared with average consumers.

Overall, 16 items of a basket of 22 were cheaper at the Barwon Prison one-stop shop. The items were taken from 267 listed products available to prisoners.

The biggest win for the crooks was for John West Temptations, a mega-saving of a dollar from a supermarket price of $2.36.

Prisoners were also able to buy Mint Slices for $2.23, well under the supermarket price of $3.10, while Tim Tams were 10c cheaper than the going rate.

Other cut-price items at Barwon canteen included a 25-cent saving on Coon cheese, a 50c cut on a Gillette Mach 3 razor and a pack of Salada crackers down 35c.

But it wasn’t all red-spot specials for the bad guys.

Delicious Chocolate Royals were 20c up on the supermarket, Lipton tea (50s) 12c higher, baked beans 26c dearer while Palmolive shampoo was a rip off at the canteen, with a marked price of $5.41, 42c higher.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman said prison shops were run by each prison and no profit was made.

He said products were purchased directly by the prison, usually at wholesale prices.

“They are allowed to a purchase a basic range of items such as telephone credit, toiletries or food products in limited quantities from the prison shop,” the spokesman said.

“Prisoners pay for these themselves at no cost to the taxpayer.”

RMIT criminal justice advocate Peter Norden said people should be questioning the cost of building and staffing more prisons for more inmates – which is estimated at $500,000 a cell – rather than the price of food.

“They can get cheaper food in the prisons because it’s an expanding population,” he said, tongue in cheek.

“They can buy in bulk.”

Pam Greenbury, the mother of murder victim Tracey, said prisoners should not be getting sweets or any other luxury item, let alone at a discount.

“I wouldn’t like our daughter’s murderer to get any luxuries,” Mrs Greenbury said.

“Luxuries at a discounted price? I’d say no.”

Bullying just has to stop…This is Olivia Penpraze- She is dead


This is the saddest thing I have read about and watched in a long long time, maybe ever, she is not a criminal, nor did she commit any crimes. But what happened to her was criminal.
update 21/01/14, at a recent request via the family, please support the following campaign and excellent website to stop the bullying that leads to our precious innocent kids ending their own lives.

“>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa6U_keGHlU%5D

“>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QePopHs6XIc%5D

http://www.angels4olivia.com.au/
Olivia Penpraze attempted suicide for the final time last week. But she had been dying on the inside for a long time. I urge you all, as parents, teachers and other significant adults with children in your care, to sit down and watch this video she made only weeks before attempting suicide for the final time. I am a dad with 3 kids, and have maybe shed a tear once in ten years, but I’m proud to say I shed more than a few watching this girls pain in her video…Her parents have allowed the video to stay online, in the hope in can help us all.

PLEASE TELL SOMEONE, TELL ME, YOUR MUM, A FRIEND OR NEIGHBOUR.PEOPLE DO CARE AND WILL LISTEN

Mostly I imagine, to stop another precious child killing themselves after being bullied. Maybe if a bully or potential bully sat down with an adult with some compassion, and watched this all the way through, the impact may have such a lasting effect on them, that they will make the choice never to bully anyone again, not stand by and watch somebody they know bully others, whether it is online, in person, through notes and snide comments and the like. Watch the VIDEO and read the article below, where the devastated grieving parents share their heartache.

“>http://youtu.be/RzjFf8ywk3c%5D

ONLY after Olivia Penpraze’s death did her parents discover what was really happening online.

Olivia Penpraze was only 19 when she took her own life.

On Tuesday, the 19-year-old from Rowville, who was left brain dead after a suicide attempt, drew her last breath before her parents Warren and Kellie Penpraze turned off her life support.

Her grieving father logged on to her laptop to send out the sad message to her friends the best way he knew how – Facebook.

That’s when he stumbled across his daughter’s online suicide diary. For two years, the petite teen had been chronicling her depression on blogging site Tumblr.

More than 900 pages of posts and photographs revealed her daily heart-wrenching emotional descent. In video posts she talked about being bullied and the desire to not hate herself any more.

In February, she wrote how nice it was to not think about killing herself on her 19th birthday.

Hundreds of photos show the things that made her happy such as kittens, flowers and going to the school formal. Other images were much darker.

Despite disturbing posts, Olivia still offered a shoulder to cry on for online followers who also suffered depression. In one video she announced the date she would attempt suicide, May 1, but she couldn’t wait that long.

The site shocked her father, but what hurt most were not Olivia’s words, it was the people who posted comments urging her to die.

He said: “I can’t understand how someone could sit there and egg someone on to kill themselves. They are pretty damn gutless people.”

Even after Mr Penpraze posted on Olivia’s blog explaining what had happened, there were sick replies.

“They said if she was dead why weren’t you spending time with your family. They didn’t believe she was dead,” Mr Penpraze said.

“She does have friends … who wanted to know what happened but all the hatred-type ones come from people who … post as anonymous.”

The comments became so bad Mr Penpraze disabled the blog and is urging the online community to warn friends and family when they know something is wrong.

“We are finding out now there are kids on her Facebook who actually know her on the Tumblr account. Why are they not getting in touch?” he said.

“If she says she is going to do something on this date they could have told us. Even if it was a false alarm, we could have done something.”

Since her death, hundreds of tributes have been posted.

http://youtu.be/V1kPtvSvags

The devastated family, including brother Alex, 16, will farewell Olivia on Wednesday in Malvern.

May she and the family find peace

 

Bullying just has to stop…This is Olivia Penpraze- She is dead


This is the saddest thing I have read about and watched in a long long time, maybe ever, she is not a criminal, nor did she commit any crimes. But what happened to her was criminal.

update 21/01/14, at a recent request via the family, please support the following campaign and excellent website to stob the bullying that leads to our precious innocent kids ending their own lives.

http://www.angels4olivia.com.au/

Olivia Penpraze attempted suicide for the final time last week. But she had been dying on the inside for a long time. I urge you all, as parents, teachers and other significant adults with children in your care, to sit down and watch this video she made only weeks before attempting suicide for the final time. I am a dad with 3 kids, and have maybe shed a tear once in ten years, but I’m proud to say I shed more than a few watching this girls pain in her video…Her parents have allowed the video to stay online, in the hope in can help us all.

PLEASE TELL SOMEONE, TELL ME, YOUR MUM, A FRIEND OR NEIGHBOUR.PEOPLE DO CARE AND WILL LISTEN

Mostly I imagine, to stop another precious child killing themselves after being bullied. Maybe if a bully or potential bully sat down with an adult with some compassion, and watched this all the way through, the impact may have such a lasting effect on them, that they will make the choice never to bully anyone again, not stand by and watch somebody they know bully others, whether it is online, in person, through notes and snide comments and the like. Watch the VIDEO and read the article below, where the devastated grieving parents share their heartache.

http://youtu.be/RzjFf8ywk3c

ONLY after Olivia Penpraze’s death did her parents discover what was really happening online.

Olivia Penpraze was only 19 when she took her own life.

On Tuesday, the 19-year-old from Rowville, who was left brain dead after a suicide attempt, drew her last breath before her parents Warren and Kellie Penpraze turned off her life support.

Her grieving father logged on to her laptop to send out the sad message to her friends the best way he knew how – Facebook.

That’s when he stumbled across his daughter’s online suicide diary. For two years, the petite teen had been chronicling her depression on blogging site Tumblr.

More than 900 pages of posts and photographs revealed her daily heart-wrenching emotional descent. In video posts she talked about being bullied and the desire to not hate herself any more.

In February, she wrote how nice it was to not think about killing herself on her 19th birthday.

Hundreds of photos show the things that made her happy such as kittens, flowers and going to the school formal. Other images were much darker.

Despite disturbing posts, Olivia still offered a shoulder to cry on for online followers who also suffered depression. In one video she announced the date she would attempt suicide, May 1, but she couldn’t wait that long.

The site shocked her father, but what hurt most were not Olivia’s words, it was the people who posted comments urging her to die.

He said: “I can’t understand how someone could sit there and egg someone on to kill themselves. They are pretty damn gutless people.”

Even after Mr Penpraze posted on Olivia’s blog explaining what had happened, there were sick replies.

“They said if she was dead why weren’t you spending time with your family. They didn’t believe she was dead,” Mr Penpraze said.

“She does have friends … who wanted to know what happened but all the hatred-type ones come from people who … post as anonymous.”

The comments became so bad Mr Penpraze disabled the blog and is urging the online community to warn friends and family when they know something is wrong.

“We are finding out now there are kids on her Facebook who actually know her on the Tumblr account. Why are they not getting in touch?” he said.

“If she says she is going to do something on this date they could have told us. Even if it was a false alarm, we could have done something.”

Since her death, hundreds of tributes have been posted.

http://youtu.be/V1kPtvSvags

The devastated family, including brother Alex, 16, will farewell Olivia on Wednesday in Malvern.

May she and the family find peace